Report Finds Link Between Access to Contraceptives and Economic Opportunities for Women

A new report correlates access to contraceptives with wage increases. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducted the report and revealed women between the ages of 18 and 21 who had legal access to birth control make 5% more an hour and 11% more annually, up until age 40.

In all, women will make up to $2,200 more per year. The study’s authors Anna Bernstein and Kelly M. Jones explained women having access to contraceptives were able to delay having children, which allowed them to invest in their educations and careers.

Other research on contraceptives backs up this study’s results. Access to birth control contributed to a 15% increase in women’s participation in the workforce from 1970 to 1990. It’s also connected to a 12% to 20% increase in college enrollment. 

“The knowledge that a woman will have the future ability to control whether and when to have a child can shape a young woman’s aspirations and life plans,” Bernstein and Jones said of their study. They added, “Contraceptives give women the freedom to invest in their human capital, and develop economic security.”

Data for the study was collected from interviews between 1968 and 2003.

The Realist Woman’s take:

I'm a big believer in women being able to plan their parenthood. Currently, women’s clinics have been taking a hit from Republican legislator's attacks on reproductive rights and the Trump administration’s limits within Title X, forcing these clinics to close and ultimately prevent women from receiving contraceptives, mammograms, and STD testing.

This study and many others show that when women have access to contraceptives from an early age, they are more likely to see an increase in their wages and are able to earn college degrees. Its vital women have this protection. The quality of their livelihoods depends on it.

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